When many people hear the word turmeric (Curcuma longa) they immediately think of curry powder, which is a component of the mix but not the sole spice. It's also the spice that give curry its signature vibrant yellow color. Hailing all the way from countries like India and Africa turmeric, a rhizome like its spicy cousin ginger, has been known to used medicinally and in cuisines for almost 4,000 years. You find that turmeric has be as a healing plant in both Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese medicine/ traditions.
The Hindu religion sees turmeric, also known as haldi, as auspicious and sacred. In Hindu worship ceremonies, turmeric powder is used to symbolize both inner purity and inner pride. Worshipers use turmeric paste to anoint statues and images of Hindu deities in religious ceremonies.The yellow and orange coloring of turmeric add to its significance in Hindu practice with yellow representing the space between chastity and sensuality, as well as the sacral chakra. Orange represents the sun, sacrifice and courage, as well as the solar plexus chakra.
In Buddhism, yellow represents the Bodhisattva Ratnasambhava, an archetypal Buddha connected to generosity. In Buddhism, turmeric continues to be symbolic of purity and prosperity and it is used in ceremonies to anoint sacred images. Perhaps its most important use in Buddhism, however, goes back to its qualities as a dye. Turmeric is the dye most often used to create the traditional saffron-colored robes worn by Buddhist monks.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is a very strong antioxident and powerful effects as an anti-inflammatory. Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.Turmeric has decreased effects in some people with depression, Alzheimer’s and other problematic issues which stem from the brain. A study in 60+ people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition. Granted you would have to eat a heck of a lot of turmeric root or a concentrated extract to have affect.
Straight-forward Benefits of Turmeric
Inflammation is a necessary process in the body, as it fights off harmful invaders and repairs damage caused by bacteria, viruses and injuries. The curcumin in turmeric has proven, strong anti-inflammatory properties that block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body. Studies show positive effects of curcumin on people suffering from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Turmeric is often used in an Ayurvedic approach to reduce inflammation of the throat and tonsils, and as an anti-inflammatory herb for many other aches and pains.
Curcumin has been shown to be a robust scavenger of oxygen free radicals, which are chemically active molecules that cause damage to the body’s cells. Free radical damage, along with inflammation, is a key driver of cardiovascular disease, so curcumin can play a part in preventing and managing heart disease. In addition to antioxidant effects, turmeric has also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in people at risk of heart disease, and may improve blood pressure. Antioxidants in turmeric may also help reduce the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
Antimicrobial and Antiviral
In various abstract medical studies it has been shown that curcumin is a potent HIV integrase inhibitor, as it is able to bind acidic residues in the integrases catalytic core domain, preventing it from binding its substrates (Mazumder et al., 1995). Computational docking studies revealed that specifically the keto-enol and terminal o-hydroxyl group of curcumin exhibit tight linkage to the integrases binding site formed by residues Asp64, His67, Thr66, Glu92, Thr93, Asp116, Ser119, Asn120, and Lys159 (Vajragupta et al., 2005). Due to the lack of preventive and therapeutic options for many viral infections, numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the antiviral potential of natural compounds. Accordingly, antiviral effects haven been shown, e.g., for components of green tea (as reviewed, e.g., Steinmann et al., 2013), cinnamon (Connell et al., 2016) and many herbs. For curcumin, an antiviral activity was observed against several different viruses including hepatitis viruses, influenza viruses and emerging arboviruses like the Zika virus (ZIKV) or chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Interestingly, it has also been reported that the molecule inhibits human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus (HPV), indicating that curcumin reduces the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Turmeric is widely used as both a spice and an herbal medicine. The traditional use of turmeric in gastroenterology is mainly based on its choleretic activity. Cholerectics stimulate production of bile, thereby supporting digestion.The choleretic effect of curcumin increases bile production by approximately 62%. A randomized, double-blind crossover study in 1999 used ultrasound to examine the gallbladder after administration of curcumin, leading researchers to conclude that “curcumin induces contraction of the human gall-bladder” (Raysid et al., 1999).
Turmeric Recipes & Remedies
Anemia: Everyday take a dose of 1 tsp of turmeric juice mixed with honey.
Asthma: Boil 1 cup of milk with 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Drink warm.
Burns: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tsp of aloe gel and apply to burnt area.
Conjunctivitis: Mix 1 tbsp of crushed, raw turmeric in 1/3 cup of water. Boil and sieve. 2–3 drops of this mixture may be used in each eye up to 3 times per day.
Complexion: Apply a paste of turmeric on the skin before bed, and wash off after a few minutes. In the morning, remove any remaining yellow tinge with a paste of chickpea flour and oil.
Dental problems: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with ½ tsp of salt. Add mustard oil to make a paste. Rub the teeth and gums with this paste twice daily. Can be used to treat infected gums. This can also help prevent tooth decay and disease.
Diabetes: ½–1 tsp of turmeric should be taken 3 times a day.
Diarrhea: Take ½ tsp of turmeric powder or juice in water, 3 times per day.
External Pain: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of ginger with water to make a paste. Spread over a cloth, place on the affected area and bandage.
Add 1 tsp of turmeric to 1 cup of warm milk and drink before bed.
Nose Bleeds: Mix a pinch of Turmeric with organic ghee and apply it to the mucus lining of nose to stop nosebleeds and help clear the sinuses. It also helps create a more acute sense of smell and purifies the mind and brain.
2 cups milk of your choosing
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 tablespoon local honey 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coconut oil Few shakes of ground black pepper
Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan, bring to a low simmer.
Whisk frequently until combined and foamy.
Pour into cup, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve warm.
Although turmeric eaten in food is considered safe. Please take measures to do so safely
For some individuals, turmeric should not be used at high doses long term (Mills & Bone, 2005), as overuse may cause gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g., diarrhea, nausea, ulcers) in some susceptible people (McIntyre, 2005; Ehrlich 2014).
Turmeric is considered contraindicated in the case of biliary tract obstruction due to potential bile-stimulating activity, and those with a history of biliary tract obstruction should gain professional advice before using turmeric at therapeutic doses (Mills & Bone, 2005; Gardner & McGuffin, 2013).
Because turmeric may have antiplatelet and blood-thinning activity, individuals on blood-thinning medications should exercise caution when considering therapeutic use and speak with their healthcare professional or pharmacist prior to self-administration (Mills & Bone, 2005). For similar reasons, it is also generally advised that individuals undergoing surgery stop consuming therapeutic doses of turmeric at least two weeks prior to their procedure (Ehrlich, 2014).
Also consult with you physician before supplementing turmeric for prescibed medications and before using at home remedies. This information has been provided to research and educational purposes.